The Saudi-Led Sunni Alliance: A Dangerous Stunt?
Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), the kingdom’s Defense Minister, held a rare late-night press conference on December 15, 2015, for Saudi journalists only. He announced the formation of a new 34-nation “Islamic military alliance” to fight Daesh (“Islamic State”) and al-Qaeda. MbS’ proclamation of this Sunni religious force, a grandiose project, stunned scholars, diplomats, and armchair pundits. Many are asking, what is the son of Saudi King Salman thinking?
MbS argued that the aim of the Islamic military alliance would be to provide mutual anti-terrorism assistance “all over the Islamic world,” specifically in Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, Iraq, Syria, and beyond. MbS argued, “Today, every Islamic country is fighting terrorism individually.”
Furthermore, the Deputy Crown Prince asserted that the new alliance “emanates from the keenness of the Muslim world to fight this disease, which affected the Islamic world first, before the international community as a whole.” This Islamic aspect is important, as MbS argued that the faith forbids “corruption and destruction in the world” and that terrorism constitutes “a serious violation of human dignity and rights, especially the right to life and the right to security.”